The Best Border Plants in Oregon

Oregon is a large, diverse state with various climatic challenges. The coastal region tends to require plants that are salt-tolerant; the valley region of western Oregon offers mild winters with excessive amounts of rain; and eastern Oregon is referred to as the "high desert" due to its elevation, cold winters and lack of abundant water. Border plants are a common choice for all gardeners in Oregon and a few varieties readily thrive in the state. Many native Oregon plants are ideal border garden choices.

Wood Sorrel

Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella - L.) prefers slightly acid soil conditions. It thrives with abundant rainfall. The small plant is an ideal border choice for the valley area of western Oregon. In April and May the wood sorrel produces dainty white blossoms that are favored by bees on tiny 3-inch-tall plants. The plant is a favorite border addition for anyone wanting to achieve and add a woody garden look to their landscape. The plants' leaves can be eaten in limited supply as a salad addition. The plant self-sows and spreads with ease.

Creeping Mahonia

Creeping mahonia (Berberis repens) commonly grows 1 foot but can reach 3 feet. This evergreen is a favorite Oregon border plant for foundations or the front of a perennial border. Its tolerance to extreme cold and ability to withstand extended drought makes it an excellent choice for eastern Oregon weather but the plant can easily be grown throughout the entire state. Each spring, the creeping mahonia produces an abundance of bright, fragrant yellow flowers followed by tiny blue berries. The plant is deer-proof and a wonderful choice for a woodland garden.

Coastal Strawberry

The coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) grows naturally throughout the Pacific Northwest. It's a tiny evergreen plant that produces small white blossoms each spring. The plant, which produces edible strawberries, can easily thrive in western Oregon and along the coastline. It can even be found growing on the sand dunes along the Oregon coast with ease. The coastal strawberry is grown in borders, containers and baskets. It enjoys moist conditions to thrive. It is also called the "sand" strawberry.


Squawcarpet (Ceanothus prostratus) is a small border plant that is native to Oregon. It grows approximately 4 inches in height. From April to July the plant produces tiny lavender flowers. It is a popular border plant around evergreens where others have a difficult time thriving. Squawcarpet can tolerate drought situations and withstand cold winters, which makes it ideal for eastern Oregon landscaping. The plant also provides soil erosion assistance. Transplanting is strongly discouraged because the plant often fails to thrive. The plant works with micro-organisms in the soil to help fix nitrogen, which can help other plants growing in the vicinity to flourish with the added nutrients.

Keywords: Squawcarpet, Coastal Strawberry, Creeping Mahonia, Wood Sorrel